Today concluding my review of this piece by reporter Alexei Peskov. We saw that the 25 bridges over the Dnepr River have more significance than just the purely military-strategic.
To be sure, the railroad bridges play a critical role in delivering supplies to the front. There are 3 such bridges in the Kiev area alone; and two in the city of Dnipro (formerly called Dnepropetrovsk).
Another 3 railroad bridges are located across major dams and reservoirs: In Kremenchug, Kamensky (formerly Dneprodzerzhinsk), and Zaporozhie.
Whenever a new bridge is opened in a city, this is huge event for the local citizenry. Each bridge has a unique history and style. For example, the automobile Bridge named after Soviet engineer E.O. Paton, in Kiev, which was built between 1940-1953, can be considered an architectural masterpiece of the Soviet period. Similarly, the railroad bridge Merefo-Khersonsky Bridge in Dnipro. If these bridges were to be bombed, then a national legacy would damaged; plus local transportation would collapse.
The reporter chatted with a Ukrainian Professor [who specializes in bridges] who prefers to remain anonymous. According to this expert, these bridges were built to last centuries. It would be physically possible, but extremely difficult, to take out these bridges, even with modern weaponry. One would have to use something like Kalibr or Iskander rockets; or bombs of the series KAB-400 or KAB-1500. Or perhaps a UPAB-1500. The latter of which has already been employed by the Russian forces during the course of this war.
Nonetheless, a giant well-constructed bridge makes for an extremely complicated target. It’s not enough for the rocket or bomb to hit the bridge, it must do so in such a way as to make repairs take a very long time. By the same token, the destruction should not be intended to completely trash the bridge. One way or another, this “special operation” will be over at some point, and then peaceful life will resume.
A good example of these principles is the fact that Russian planes had to return a second time to the business of bombing the “Zatok” railroad bridge in the Odessa Oblast. After the first attack, the bridge was up and running again within hours. [yalensis: Readers may recall that the Russians felt the need to take out this particular bridge as a preemptive move in the upcoming battle for Odessa and Transnistria.]
The anonymous Professor agreed that, if preserving a particular bridge would cost the lives of Russian servicemen, then, by all means, blast away. But he begged them to just destroy the parts on each shore, leaving the central construction intact, the parts deep under water. These are the most technologically complex parts of the construction. He also suggested not going after the bridges at all, but just destroying the places where the railroad lines are connected (проще будет наносить удары не по собственно пролетам, а по участкам примыкания железнодорожных путей). This will get the job done even better and cost less explosives.
Reminding us that bridges are not just things. They have a symbolic [and emotional] meaning to people. Destroying bridges in the center of Kiev or Dnipro will have a serious psychological effect on the people living there. This factor must be taken into account.
The Professor reminisces about the Yugoslav War in 1999, and how the Americans/NATO destroyed 3 major bridges across the Danube River, in the city of Novi Sad, Serbia. It took many years and millions of Euros to rebuild these bridges. [Serbs will never forgive the Americans for what they did.] He begs, once again: If the Russians are able to solve all their military tasks without destroying these bridges over the Dnepr River, then that would be super. It doesn’t seem like the Russians are thinking about doing that yet anyhow, it hasn’t quite come to that point. With some exceptions like the Zatok Bridge.
And the reporter ends this piece by once again reiterating that it can be an even more successful strategy to leave the bridges intact, and just go after the railroad ties, so that trains won’t be able to use those bridges.